Saturday, February 27, 2010

Influential Indologist

The passing away of the French scholar Madeleine Biardeau, translator of the Ramayana and an outstanding specialist of the Puranas, is a loss to understanding Hindu India.
Madeleine Biardeau, the widely respected French Indologist, passed away on February 1 in France. She was 88. Born in Niort, in the West of France, in 1922 into a middle class family of small entrepreneurs, Madeleine Biardeau joined the prestigious Ecole normale supérieure of Sèvres (restricted to girls then) at Paris, in 1943, where she studied philosophy. There she discovered the classical heritage of Indian culture with a group of young Christian women who were attracted by the so called spirituality of the East.
Madeleine Biardeau, who was close to the Left Catholic milieu and had a strong secular feeling in spite of being herself a practising Catholic, departed from her friends and started learning Sanskrit intensively in order to study Hindu philosophy to which she devoted a great part of her academic life. But she did not intend to consider Hinduism only from her academic milieu far from India. Aware of the ancient tradition of scholarship that was still alive there, and very curious about the country and its people, she joined the University of Travancore for two years, in the1950s, learning much from the Pandits with whom she read Sanskrit texts. It was the beginning of a lasting intellectual and personal relationship with India, which she visited almost every year until the 1990s.

Full report here The Hindu

No comments:

Post a Comment